Monte Cinto (2706m) as seen from the trailhead at the bergerie de l'Ercu
With 2706m Monte Cinto is the highest mountain on Corsica. It is the main peak of the Massive de Cinto which separates the Golo valley in the south from the Asco valley in the north. There are three major hiking routes, one from the north, starting from Haut Asco, the other two starting from the south from the camppground near Lozzi. All routes require a little climbing experience since some of the scrambles are rated with a difficulty degree of II.
Weather conditions can be pretty harsh; temperatures and winds can be rather nasty. Though Corsica has a rather moderate climate the summits often are freezing cold with gusty winds. You'll encounter snow and ice through the end of June / beginning of July.
Main attractions are the lakes just below the summit, Lac d'Argenntu in the north as well as Lac du Cinto in the south. The proximity to (arguably) Corsica's most beautiful mountain, Paglia Orba.
In fine weather you can see virtually all of Corsica from Cinto's summit. East, north and west coasts are clearly visible as well as all the major summits of the central ridges: Monte Rotondo, Monte d'Oro and Monte Renoso.
Corsica can be reached by ferry or by plane. Major gateways are Ajaccio in the west and Bastia in the north. Usually both ferries and planes start from Marseille or Nice on the Côte d'Azur.
The trailheads can be reached as follows:
- Haut Asco in the North
Take RN 193 either which connects Ajaccio and Bastia and turn into the Asco valley using D147. The intersection is a little north of Ponte Leccia From there drive through to the end of the valley to Haut Asco
- Lozzi in the South
Again use RN 193 and at Francardo turn into the Golo valley using D84. The first part of the drive takes you through the magnificient Scala di Sta Regina, a beautiful gorge which invites climbers. Right after Calacuccia turn right towards Lozzi. You can either start from the campground at Lozzi or take a dirt road to the Bergerie de Petra Pinzuta. But this road is in a terrible condition and driving the 7.5 km will shake the hell out of you. Hiking the distance takes about an hour and approx. 400m of altitude.
There are no permits required. Parking at both trailheads is free.
When To Climb
The adequate season is May through October. You certainly can climb Monte Cinto in winter but you'll probably have problems finding accomodation.
At both trailheads (either Haut Asco or Lozzi, Albertacce, Calacuccia) you can find hotels and auberges. All villages are rather small so there are not too many beds to be found. Out of season almost everything is closed.
There is a campground a little above Lozzi, which can serve as base station for the southern approaches. Also the refuge de L'Ercu can be used but bring your own stuff since it rather qualifies as bivouac. It is closed out of season as well.
For Weather information for Corsica lookup the Meteo Corse page
Maps 'n' Books
As for Maps I used only a road map scale 1:200000 since the guidebook I used has maps and is really excellent.
The book is:
Corsica (Corse / Korsika)
Klaus Wolfsperger, Tom Krupp
ISBN: 3-7633-4819-0 (English)
ISBN: 3-7633-4907-3 (French)
ISBN: 3-7633-4280-X (German)